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Putting the Cart before the Horse? Re-Examining the Relationship between Domestic Savings and Economic Growth in Selected Sub-Saharan African Countries


  • Ibrahim Osman Adam
  • Alhassan Musah
  • Muazu Ibrahim


In addition to the standard Granger causality, this paper employs the Toda–Yamamoto approach and instantaneous causality test to examine the causal relationship between domestic savings and economic growth in 10 sub-Saharan African countries utilizing time series data. Findings from both the standard Granger causality and Toda–Yamamoto approach are consistent and robust only in five countries where domestic savings and economic growth are completely independent in three countries. For the remaining two, causality runs from savings to growth. However, for the other five countries, findings produced from both causality tests are grossly inconsistent and mixed leaving us under a quandary although the Toda–Yamamoto test is often reliable on account of its ability to avoid misleading results associated with the asymptotic nature of the standard Granger causality test. Our findings further reveal an instantaneous unidirectional causality from domestic savings to economic growth for only Benin, Mali, and South Africa suggesting that savings-led growth is rapid for these countries. We conclude based on our findings that the myriad of ‘evidence’ in earlier studies on savings-growth causality should be treated with caution given that methodological differences can produce misleading results with the potential of misdirecting policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ibrahim Osman Adam & Alhassan Musah & Muazu Ibrahim, 2017. "Putting the Cart before the Horse? Re-Examining the Relationship between Domestic Savings and Economic Growth in Selected Sub-Saharan African Countries," Journal of African Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 102-123, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:wjabxx:v:18:y:2017:i:1:p:102-123
    DOI: 10.1080/15228916.2016.1225472

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
    2. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean C. Kouam & Simplice Asongu, 2022. "The non-linear effects of fixed broadband on economic growth in Africa," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 50(5), pages 881-895, August.
    2. Simplice A. Asongu & Joseph Nnanna & Paul N. Acha-Anyi, 2021. "The Openness Hypothesis in the Context of Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Moderating Role of Trade Dynamics on FDI," The International Trade Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 336-359, July.
    3. Simplice Asongu & Christelle Meniago & Raufhon Salahodjaev, 2022. "The role of value added across economic sectors in modulating the effects of FDI on TFP and economic growth dynamics," International Journal of Emerging Markets, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 18(11), pages 5087-5108, February.
    4. Vanessa S. Tchamyou & Simplice A. Asongu & Nicholas M. Odhiambo, 2019. "The Role of ICT in Modulating the Effect of Education and Lifelong Learning on Income Inequality and Economic Growth in Africa," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 31(3), pages 261-274, September.
    5. Asongu, Simplice A. & Odhiambo, Nicholas M., 2020. "Foreign direct investment, information technology and economic growth dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1).
    6. Simplice A. Asongu & Joseph Nnanna & Paul N. Acha-Anyi, 2020. "On the simultaneous openness hypothesis: FDI, trade and TFP dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Economic Structures, Springer;Pan-Pacific Association of Input-Output Studies (PAPAIOS), vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, December.
    7. Simplice A. Asongu & Nicholas M. Odhiambo, 2023. "Foreign Direct Investment, Information Technology, And Total Factor Productivity Dynamics In Sub‐Saharan Africa," World Affairs, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 186(2), pages 469-506, June.
    8. Simplice A. Asongu & Samba Diop, 2022. "Resource Rents and Economic Growth: Governance and Infrastructure Thresholds," Working Papers 22/072, European Xtramile Centre of African Studies (EXCAS).
    9. Larissa Batrancea & Malar Mozhi Rathnaswamy & Ioan Batrancea, 2021. "A Panel Data Analysis of Economic Growth Determinants in 34 African Countries," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-15, June.
    10. Simplice A. Asongu & Paul N. Acha-Anyi, 2020. "Enhancing ICT for productivity in sub-Saharan Africa: Thresholds for complementary policies," African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(7), pages 831-845, November.
    11. Eric E. O. Opoku & Muazu Ibrahim & Yakubu A. Sare, 2018. "Foreign Direct Investment, Sectoral Effects and Economic Growth in Africa," Working Papers 769, Economic Research Southern Africa.

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